The longtime home of the Warehouse Theatre Company, a gallery that often featured the work of local artists, multiple classrooms, and the offices of the non-profit Allied Arts of Yakima Valley will be razed on Saturday, February 28th. Demolition of the building is expected to begin around 8:00 am that day.
More than a year ago, Allied Arts officials asked the City of Yakima’s Codes Division to inspect the building because they were concerned about its structural integrity. Inspections revealed a significantly bulging exterior wall, problems with the roof trusses, and other dangerous conditions in the building. It was determined that the building was no longer safe to occupy. Since then, the building has sat empty.
The building was originally a fruit warehouse owned by the Gilbert family. In 1951, it was donated by the family to the City of Yakima for use as an arts center.
Efforts by the Allied Arts board and other community members to raise funds to potentially repair the building were unsuccessful. A claim filed with Allied Arts’ insurer was denied. Earlier this month, Allied Arts Board President Meredith Bruch sent a letter to the City expressing regret that the building was not able to be saved.
“The Board has no other option but to cede the building to the City of Yakima for demolition,” wrote Bruch. “We are very sorry to lose the historic building, such a valuable resource to the Community. We are also very sorry to saddle the City with the responsibility to address the matter,” said Bruch in her letter. “However, our lack of resources makes that necessary.”
The City has contracted with Russell Crane Services, Inc., a Yakima contracting firm, to raze the Allied Arts building at an estimated cost of $100,000. The demolition debris will remain at the site in a fenced-in area for about a week before being removed. The area where the building has been located since the 1930s will eventually be planted with grass.